Fused Glass Tutorials - How to do Raking
Raking (or combing) hot glass in a kiln, while it's on, can be a very scary thing if you haven't done it before.
Before you start, at least a moderate amount of glass fusing experience is essential. If you're feeling a bit daunted by it all, or aren't sure it's going to be for you, then attending a class with a reputable glass course provider will mean you haven't invested in all the safety gear for nothing.
If you have a decent amount of experience and your own kiln, and think you'd like to have a go, first take a look at pictures and videos of other people doing raking - that will give you an idea of the kind of safety equipment you need and the processes involved. Here's a helpful starter list (which may not be completely comprehensive) - please do feel free to add your favourite raking tips in the comments!
The larger your kiln, the better and more comprehensive safety gear you will need.
Having a bucket of water handy is REALLY a good thing. I set fire to my gloves the first time I tried raking because I was too slow and my rake was too short!!! Also, have some heavy kiln bricks / hot damz to put around your thing you are raking to stop it moving about when you poke it. Line them with 3mm fiber paper.
The glass needs to be really red hot to move easily. Don't be afraid to shut the lid and let it heat up again between pokes. Always wear closed toe shoes (preferably leather, or steel toe caps!) and old natural fabrics - you can melt things straight on to you if you're not careful - at least with natural fabrics you'll get the charring not the melting!
If you're still going OMGSCARY then try it in a microwave kiln or try some lampwork beadmaking or enamelling, or use a baby test kiln like a Paragon SC2 which has front opening door so easier to handle with just one person. Raking small scale is actually quite cute and gets you over THE FEAR a bit before trying a bigger piece!
Top tip: Thinfire paper can disintegrate if you rake too deep. A nice smooth kiln washed shelf or a 3mm layer of fiber paper is best, and/or a layer of clear glass as your bottom layer.
Always make sure there's someone else standing by - don't do it in the studio on your own!
For some helpful videos on raking, take a look at these youtube videos:
Absolute basics, "raked stripy puddle style" in a dinky kiln (but please please please use proper safety gear!)
From "The Edge of Glass". You can see more of Tim Worral's spectacular work at www.theedgeofglass.com
Raked Fused Glass Work by Tim Worral
Experienced silk painter, glass fuser, teacher, enthusiastic and inspirational.